Men's Health Cancer Awareness Skin Health
The month of June focuses on Men's Health, Cancer Awareness, and Skin Health. We have largely focused these issues under the umbrella of men's health to raise awareness and provide educational tools for health issues as they relate to men.
Dr. Richard Wender, Chief Cancer Control Officer, of the American Cancer Society, recorded a special video for ANA's June landing page in support for the 2017, Year of the Healthy Nurse.
ANA Health Risk Appraisal (HRA)
ANA conducted a Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) surveying nurses to better understand their health behaviors. While the data showed that more than half (60 percent ) of women have annual mammograms or breast cancer screenings, and nearly half of all women (49 percent) have cervical cancer screenings , most men do not get prostate exams, and nearly a quarter of all men have no routine cancer screenings at all.
The HRA survey data of skin cancer protection among nurses reveals that just one-third of surveyed nurses (36 percent) said they stay in the shade while nearly half (49 percent) of respondents do not wear sunscreen most of the time when going outside. (Figure 1) Further, survey findings also show most respondents do not engage in sun protective behaviors most of the time or when going outside for more than an hour. (Figure 1)
Figure 1 Sun Protective Behaviors Among Nurses
Reference: American Nurses Association [ANA] & Insight Consulting Group [ICG]. (2016).
Health risk appraisal exploratory data analysis: November 30, 2016.
Though the collected data does not show skin cancer risk and prevention by gender, the survey's findings are still useful for assessing the kinds of sun protective behaviors in which nurses engage. Just 20 percent of respondents said they wear a baseball cap, or sun visor, while even fewer, just 14 percent, said they wear wide brim hats to shade their face, ears, and neck when they are outside for more than an hour. (Figure 2, 3)
Figure 2 and Figure 3 Skin Cancer Prevention among Nurses
Reference: ANA & ICG. (2016). Health risk appraisal exploratory data analysis: November 30, 2016.
ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses
The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements guides the ethical practice for registered nurses across practice settings. Interpretive Statement 1.4 holds that, "Nurses should promote advance care planning conversations" with patients to assure that carefully considered decisions are made regarding treatment, symptom management, and care expectations throughout a disease process. Nurses must continue to advocate for a healthy lifestyle for patients, as well as themselves, and continue education, research, and policy development for health conditions that may have decreased awareness.
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ANA Collaborative Partners
Men's Health Network (MHN) is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health awareness and disease prevention messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation.
The Men's Health Network's Resource Center site provides information on various types of cancers that are common among men. The page includes information on symptoms and treatments for cancer diseases.
- Prostate Health
Prostate Health page of the Men's Health Resource Center provides information on the prostate gland.
For your year of healthy living, the American Cancer Society wants you to have all the information you need to reduce your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Do you know the most important risk factors for cancer? And that you can reduce your risk with specific healthy behaviors? Do you know the signs and symptoms of cancer? There's never been a better time to learn more about cancer's causes, what we can do about them, and what to be aware of.
About 1 in 2 men and 1 and 3 women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetimes.
Interestingly, in spite of most people believing that most cancers are related to family history, only about 5% to 10% of all cancers are strongly linked to genetic factors. The risk of developing many types of cancer can be reduced by changes in a person's lifestyle, for instance, by staying away from tobacco, limiting time in the sun, and being physically active and eating healthy foods.
Additional risk factors include:
- Alcohol use
- Environmental exposures, such as radon, air pollution, and asbestos
- Exposure to infections such as hepatitis, HPV, and HIV
Still, no one knows the exact cause of most cases of cancer. Because of this, it's important to know more about cancer to help you understand your personal risk and what signs and symptoms to look out for. And of course: get your recommended cancer screening tests, which can often find cancers early, when they are likely to be easier to treat.
So what else do you need to know?
Who gets cancer?
Anyone can get cancer at any age, but the risk goes up with age . Nearly 9 out of 10 cancers are diagnosed in people ages 50 and older.
What are some general signs and symptoms of cancer?
As nurses, you know that having any of these does not mean that you have cancer, but if you have any of these or other unexplained symptoms and they last for a long time or worsen, visit your health care provider.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Change in bowel habits or bladder function
- Sores that don't heal
- White patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue
- Unusual bleeding or discharge
- Thickening or lump in the breast or other parts of the body
- Indigestion or trouble swallowing
- Recent change in a wart or mole or any new skin change
- Nagging cough or hoarseness
- Frequent infections
Does this cause cancer?
We are all to some degree at risk of developing different kinds of cancer. Our risks vary based on a number of factors. Some of these, like age, sex, and genetic makeup, are beyond our control.
But there are also things we can control that could alter our risk. For example, smoking is linked to about 1/3 of all cancer deaths in the United States. And another 2 out of 10 cancers are linked to body weight, diet, and physical activity.
People are often more likely to be concerned about factors over which they feel they have less control, such as pollution or workplace exposures to carcinogens, even though these things may not pose as much of a risk to us as some other things over which we do have some control. But having an idea of how much both kinds affect our risk can help us make informed choices when it comes to changing them, avoiding them, or limiting our exposure.
"Does this cause cancer?" is a very important question to ask, but it can be a hard one to answer. If you or your patients see something in the news or online regarding this question, take these steps:
- Consider the source of the information. Is it reliable?
- Consider the science behind it. Is it convincing? How well does it apply to you?
- Get more information from trusted sources. What else is known about the subject?
- Try to put the findings in context. How much does it affect your risk? What can you do to limit your exposure if you feel you need to?
Call to Action: Educating Patients – even melanoma survivors report intentional tanning. Nurses are positioned to educate patients about the risk associated with intentional tanning and this aggressive cancer.
Prostate Cancer and Adult BMI
Men whose body mass index increases to obesity during adulthood may have a higher risk of fatal prostate cancer. Nurses should educate all patients to the relationship between obesity and cancer, but men should be aware of the need to routine prostate examination and weight control.
Cancer's Risky Business
Examine the data complied over many years to determine which behaviors, characteristics, and factors increase YOUR risk of developing cancer. Nurses can potentially reduce or identify their chances of developing future cancer and can EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE that cancer can be prevented – not only detected early. Enhance your cancer awareness
Family History and Cancer Risk
You shouldn't believe everything you hear or read – the internet should NOT be your sources of information regarding cancer risk assessment, genetics education and counseling. Oncology Nursing Society recommends these resources to exploring Cancer Risks and Genetics. Nurses can explore these resources and recommend these resources to patients and family.
Do not ignore the early warning signs of cancer – explore the latest findings form a recent study of the health questionnaire to people and the 10 symptoms that people experience that are CANCER ALARM SYMPTOMS that should be a call to action for all!
Revised USPSTF draft guidelines recommend individual prostate cancer screening decisions. The Oncology Nursing Society encourages all nurses to review cancer prevention guidelines frequently at the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) website and these important tools in the prevention of this disease are continually update based on research findings. See the latest here.
Cancer Awareness for Melanoma
Encourage your patients to know what to look for as warning signs of Melanoma: ABCDE. Learn the meaning of this mnemonic device and guidelines for when to seek medical attention for a mole. May is Malignant Melanoma Awareness Month.
- Skin Cancer Prevention – Never underestimate the power of zinc oxide!
- Cancer Awareness and Heredity Cancers
- Know the risks related to family history and cancer development.
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